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tv   U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer after Voting Rights Bill Blocked  CSPAN  October 21, 2021 9:52am-10:01am EDT

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apparel, books, home decor, and accessories, there's something for every c-span fan and every purchase to help support our nonprofit operation. shop now or anytime at c-span shop.org. >> on a partyline vote the senate failed to begin debate on a bill introduced by democrats that would expand voting access and registration and make changes to the current campaign finance laws, the vote required 60 votes to move forward. and some legislation can be brought up at a later time. and senators spoke on the floor shortly after the vote failed. >> madam president, through a motion to reconsider that the failed closure vote. >> the motion is entered.
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>> i want to be clear what just happened on the floor of the senate. every single republican senator just blocked this chamber from having a debate, simply a debate on protecting americans' right to vote in free and fair elections. a little over a year ago our country held the safest, most accessible, most on level elections in modern history. our former president could not accept defeat with grace. he refused to show fidelity to the democratic process. instead, he told a big lie, a big lie that has now poisoned, poisoned the roots of our democracy. capitalizing on this malicious lie, his ak accolites across the country making it harder for younger, poorer, urban and non-white americans to participate in our elections.
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the laws are a direct attack and our fundamental liberties as american citizens. if there's anything, anything worthy of senate's attention, it's unquestionably this. and yet, given the chance to respond to an obvious problem, given the chance to merely debate these latest threats against the franchise, senate republicans voted unanimously, unanimously to block any opportunity for action. let there be no mistake, senate republicans blocking debate today is an implicit endorsement of the horrid new voter suppression and subversion laws pushed in conservative states across the country. by preventing the senate from functioning as was intended, republicans in this body are permitting states to criminalize giving food and water to voters at the polls. republicans are saying it's
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okay to limit polling places and voting hours and shut the door to more expansive vote by mail. i mean, my god, why aren't all of my colleagues outraged by these laws? frankly, we haven't heard a clear explanation from republicans at all because they refused for this chamber to even hold the debate. it's ludicrous, ludicrous for them to state the federal government has no role to play here. they should read the constitution, the constitution of these united states of america, to precisely empowers congress to regulate, quote, times, places and manners, unquote of holding elections, the congress, but sometimes the federal government has been the only recourse when states conspire to shut voters out. madam president, the fight to
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protect our democracy is far from over in the united states senate. senate democrats have made clear that voting rights is not like other issues we deal with in this chamber. this isn't about regular old politics. it's not even just about regular policy. it's about protecting the very soul of this nation. about preserving our identity, as a free people who are masters of our own destiny. republican obstruction is not a cause forhr towel. as soon as next week, i'm prepared to bring the john lewis voting rates-- rights advancement act to the floor. what we saw from republicans today is not how the senate is supposed to work. this is supposed the world's greatest deliberative body we
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debate, compromise, amend and pass legislation to help the american people that's the legacy of this great chamber. the senate needs to be restored to its rightful status as the world's greatest deliberative body. now, in the aftermath of the civil war and as the nation began the colossal work of reconstruction, america was more divided than at any point in history. it was hard to imagine that a single nation could endure after the bloody conflict of the four previous years. at the time the republican congress set to work on granting newly freed slaves the basic freedoms that had long been denied to them. these freedoms were eventually enshined in the 14th and the 15th amendments. granting due process and the right to vote to all citizens,
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regardless of color or race. today these amendments rank as some of the greatest and most revered accomplishments in congressional history. they are proof that our country is capable of living up to its founding promise if we are willing to put in the work. but at the time, the minority party in both chambers refused to offer a single vote for any of the civil rights legislation put forward during reconstruction. not one vote. not one vote. they argue these bills represented nothing more than the partisan interest of the majority, a power grab, they said, from vengeful northerners, but that didn't stop the majority. expanding basic freedoms meant going it alone, that was something they willing to do.
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today we feel the same way. to the patriots after the civil war, this wasn't partisan, it was patriotic. and american democracy is better off today because the patriots in this chamber at that time were undeterred by minority obstruction. again, today we feel the same way. today, the question before the senate is how we will find a path forward on protecting our freedoms in the 21st century. members of this body now face a choice. they can follow in the footsteps of our patriotic predecessors in this chamber or they can sit by as the fabric of our democracy unravels before our very eyes. i yield the floor. >> we take you live now to the
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u.s. senate floor. in half an hour, the senate will vote to limit debate on nominees to serve on federal courts in washington state and new york, and also on the nominee to head the occupational safety and health administration. this is live coverage on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. shepherd of love, you have been our help in ages past. you are our hope for the years to come. as we begin

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